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Hamilton fastest on opening day in Singapore.

Fernando Alonso snatched a late lap to put himself at the head of the second session timesheets as the first day of the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix drew to a close - on track at least - at near to midnight, but the Spaniard's effort was not enough to dislodge either of the pre-race favourites overall.

Alonso clocked 1min 45.654secs close to the end of his 30-lap workload on Friday night but, while that proved good enough to put him ahead of both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa in the 90-minute session, it was still more than a tenth shy of the Briton's best effort from the early evening. The Renault driver wound up third on the combined timesheets, however, breaking up the McLaren-Ferrari duopoly that had previously existed.

Hamilton and Massa trailed respectively 0.098 and 0.139secs adrift of Alonso as the final chequered flag fell, two of only four drivers not to improve their marks second time around, along with the latter's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen - who dropped to fifth overall as a result - and Nick Heidfeld, who retained a top ten spot despite dropping to 16th in the later session.

Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica all proved to be consistent threats for the top eight after moving ahead of Raikkonen in the second session - claiming the fourth, fifth and sixth best times - but only the Finn was able to leap-frog the world champion overall as he found more than half a second to break into the 1min 45s, a domain populated only by the top five on the night.

Jenson Button proved that the opening session effort, on his side of the Honda garage at least, was no fluke, improving to eighth fastest after the shorter one-hour interval to ensure a top ten slot overall, while Kazuki Nakajima and Timo Glock both ended the second session in the top half, despite the German being reduced to a crawl in the closing moments after losing his front wing against the wall in what appeared to be a mechanically-induced accident. With Heidfeld's session one time good enough for ninth overall, his fellow German missed the top ten on combined times.

Glock's incident was the only major one of the second 90 minutes, and left him just ahead of the first man to have succumbed to the Marina Bay circuit's wall, Mark Webber. The Australian paid the price for F1's first night race having a compressed evening schedule, as he had to wait to get back on track as the Red Bull Racing crew worked to fix the right-hand front corner damage sustained after just four laps of the evening outing, but Webber eventually returned to complete another 15 tours and vault up to eleventh in session, twelfth overall.

That put him ahead of the likes of Nelson Piquet Jr, both Toro Rossos and Red Bull team-mate David Coulthard, while Giancarlo Fisichella took 18th overall despite losing fifth gear - and a great chunk of track time - during the later session. The second Honda of Rubens Barrichello and the other Force India, of Adrian Sutil brought up the rear, sandwiching a lacklustre Jarno Trulli, who took 19th spot in both sessions and had salt rubbed into his wounds as the stewards fined him for performing an illegal u-turn in order to make a short-cut back to the pits in session one.

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findone - Unregistered

September 27, 2008 12:19 AM

...and just to finish, Hamilton has always been funded and taken care of by McLaren. He made his debut in McLaren. Alonso had to fight to get funding. He started in F1 with Minardi. Still, he is the youngest ever to win a WTC. He also beat Schumacher. Last year, he had the same points as Hamilton, even though in words of Dennis, his own boss "we are not racing Raikonnen, we are racing Alonso". Would you excel in your company in a environment like that?

Cunny Funt

September 26, 2008 11:24 PM

Typical Alonslow low fuel run on a Friday. He might get to 9th in Q3 if he has low fuel again. Do you think he runs low fuel just to make people think he is as quick as Kubica, Hamilton and Vettel.

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